1 billion Muslims matter more than 17 million Jews

Do the math and you will understand why the friendly game was cancelled.

Giulio Meotti

OpEds Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi
צילום: עצמי

With the cancellation of the planned friendly match between Argentina and Israel, the movement for the boycott of the Jewish State has obtained its most precious booty and tasted success.

“We will burn the shirts of Lionel Messi” said Jibril Rajoub, the head of the Palestinian Football Association. And the Argentinian team cowtowed to the threat and  refused to play in Jerusalem.

The Argentinian press has punished the national team. Writing in the Clarin newspaper, journalist Miguel Winazki said it was time to raise the “World Cup of Hypocrisy”. To be consistent in the decision to avoid disputes abroad, wrote Winazki, the national team “should not play in Russia, because the Kremlin is behind the decision to launch military incursions into Syria”. It should not play against Spain, “for its colonial enclaves in Ceuta and Melilla.” 

Winazki offers a solution: “We do not play with anyone. We can abolish football, becoming a moral beacon and raising the world cup of universal hypocrisy”.

Messi the superstar, noted writer Daniel Lagares, lives in Barcelona, where only last year 13 people were killed in a terrorist attack perpetrated by ISIS. Other members of the Argentine team play in England, “where there was an attack on the London bridge”, and in Paris, where the Stade de France was one of the targets in the November 2015 attacks. And Jerusalem is “dangerous”? he asks.

It is hard to believe that the “threats” were serious enough to push a national team to boycott another country and to unleash a political crisis...
It is hard to believe that the “threats” were serious enough to push a national team to boycott another country and to unleash a political crisis with phone calls between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Argentine President Mauricio Macri. Although it is true that Buenos Aires in 1992 was the scene of two frightful terrorist attacks against the Jewish community and the Israeli embassy (the matrix of both attacks is Iranian through Hezbollah), that was probably not a factor. 

The explanation, perhaps, is more banal and much more vile: Money.

One of the main sponsors of the boycott of Israel is Qatar, which is also one of the first sponsors of Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Qatar in 2022 will host the World Cup and, as Winazki would rightly point out, in that case Argentina will be there, even if Doha is an Islamist satrapy where workers (almost all foreigners) at work in football stadiums are treated as slaves.

But - Israel is only the eighth place in the  destination of Argentine exports in the Middle East, after Qatar, Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria and the United Arab Emirates. And with Qatar, Argentina has just tightened one of the most abundant economic pacts in the history of that South American country.

Qatar Petroleum, the world's largest supplier of liquid natural gas, bought 30 percent of Exxon Argentina. And the very same Lionel Messi, the Argentine star threatened with retaliation and violence if he set foot in Jerusalem, is the star of Barcelona, whose sponsor was Qatar Airways.

One billion Muslims matter more than 17 million Jews.

Just don't preach to Israel about “justice” and “morality."